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Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back.
As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.
400 pages, Kindle Edition
First published May 12, 2020
When matters of the heart are involved, it's difficult to be careful.
Her eyes are bright, but hooded. Intense.
She's inching forward.
Is there a heterosexual explanation for why she's moving forward?
"Muslims aren't gay," she whispers, like this is a hard and fast rule. She's still turned away from me, looking out the window like the outside world will have some solution to my lesbian problem.
I can't stand the way she says my name: Neesh-hat, like I'm a niche hat.
— read this review and others on my blog
What I want more than anything else in the world is to feel like being myself isn’t something that should be hidden and a secret.
But sometimes just being yourself—really, truly yourself—can be the most difficult thing to be.
“I love you, Apujan,” she whispers. “And I’m so damn proud of you. I hope you know that.”
Thank you to Page Street for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinion in any way.
All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in final publication.
But I’m tired of being ashamed. My choice is clearly laid out in front of me. I’m going to choose me.
It doesn’t seem like much. But sometimes just being yourself—really, truly yourself—can be the most difficult thing to be.
↣ consider reading this review over on my blog.
Let's shine a deserving spotlight on the inspiring protagonist who is coming of age.
The perfect South-Asian family portrayal—a sister who becomes a source of strength, conservative immigrant parents, and relatives invited to celebrate academic results.
An applause for the cultural essence and important themes that flow through the modern narrative.
Sapphic romance that starts with an instant crush and grows through competing henna businesses disguised as a war.
Throws a much-needed light on racism in a setting meant for diverse young students to be educated.
Note: I'm in no place to give detailed comments on the representation of sexual identities or the religion of characters in this book so please pay heed to the ownvoices reviews for these representations above mine. I'm only positive about my opinions regarding the culture depicted and racism challenged.